WHAT’S THE PLAN?….Glenn Reynolds suggests today that George Bush’s difficulties are not so much with the people who were fair weather supporters of the war from the start, but rather with the people who were its most fervent fans:
Bush’s problem on the war is that he’s losing the Jacksonian base, which is no longer confident that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, regardless of foreign or public opinion.
Like most slogan-driven hawks, however, he doesn’t follow this up with a definition of what he means by “whatever it takes.” It’s just left hanging. Greg Djerejian, a hawk who’s grounded enough to have been getting steadily more pessimistic about our chances in Iraq over the past year, takes a crack at it:
Fire Donald Rumsfeld, and replace him with John Warner or Richard Armitage or someone else qualified soonest. Bulk up our troop presence in Baghdad asap, even if it means rotating some troops out of places like Anbar (especially in locations where we are still more in whack-a-mole posture than clear, build, hold). Let’s have a major show of strength, including large amounts of U.S. troops, in the most problematic neighborhoods (US troops are critical, as confidence in the integrity of Iraqi Army units as impartial arbitrers or plausible peacekeepers simply doesn’t exist yet among much of the Iraqi public. This is why under-informed blather about the Iraqi Army being “solid”, or the militias being simply “pesky”, is just crap, and it’s quite sad prominent right wing bloggers link to such hokum as offering soi disant serious perspective).
Unfortunately, this isn’t much better than saying nothing. A new Secretary of Defense? Fine, but it’s a little late for that. And more troops at the very beginning might indeed have created a precarious order that we could then have preserved, but that chance is long gone. Even under the rosiest assumptions, there just aren’t enough troops available to bring even a makeshift peace to the Sunni Triangle today.
So: what’s the plan, hawks? “Whatever it takes” is just cheap talk. Are you suggesting higher taxes to fund a dramatic increase in military end strength? A draft? A ground invasion of Iran? A permanent military occupation of the entire Middle East?
Because that’s probably what it would take. Right now, nearly a thousand Iraqis are dying every month, the per capita equivalent of about 100,000 deaths per year if this were taking place in the United States. And keep in mind that this is the result of a mere low level civil war, not the real thing. What happens when full scale civil war breaks out and the U.S. military is stuck in the middle?
What’s the plan then?